From my seat eight rows from the stage, here’s a bird’s eye view of the Florida Republican presidential debate.
Rick Perry’s performance was the most disappointing of the evening. He stumbled and paused when describing Mitt Romney’s history of flip-flopping. It was as if he lost his train of thought mid-sentence. You could actually feel audience support for him slipping away.
Based on Perry’s performance, I predict he will not win the Florida straw poll this weekend at the Presidency 5 event sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida.
Romney came off the most in command and presidential. There is no doubt he has great stage presence, with the ability to take a punch and then give one right back. Romney looked and sounded like a winner and winning in 2012 is what’s foremost in the minds of all the delegates here at Presidency 5.
Delegates are well aware the eyes of the nation are upon them. Therefore, they are serious about making a bold political statement as to which candidate can successfully defeat President Obama. My prediction is Mitt Romney will win the straw poll at Presidency 5 and regain his frontrunner status.
The debate itself was entertaining with all the Google-infused interactivity and personalities galore. But is this really the best way to get to know the candidates? They are forced to give quick snappy answers to important questions and leave voters begging for more. It was truly a sad commentary when the loudest applause line of the entire evening was when Gary Johnson said his neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than President Obama.
Sure, for political junkies this is fun to watch. But seriously folks, this is serious business. Our nation is going down and the world is laughing at our presidential selection process.
The nine candidates were arranged on stage by their poll numbers which is why Perry was center, next to Romney, and Gary Johnson and Jon Huntsman were wingmen.
There are just too many candidates on stage for any real substantive discussion to occur. The debate sounded more like a game show than an important mile marker on the road to the White House.
Perhaps, after the Florida straw poll is over, some candidates will drop out. If not, the next debate sponsor should require that all candidates reach at least a 5% national approval by RealClearPolitics in order to command a podium.
If that were the criteria at the Florida debate, there would have only been six candidates instead of nine, for Santorum, Huntsman, and Johnson would not have made the cut.
It’s time to stop playing games and give the most popular candidates more time to beat up on each other. Since these debates already look and sound like a game show, all that’s missing is an official process for forced elimination.